The XX Factor

Emmys Reward Smart, Nuanced Female Characters

Though NBC comedy darlings Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did not take home awards this year, that doesn’t mean that the Emmys weren’t rewarding an impressive group of women who portrayed a bunch of smart, nuanced characters. Archie Panjabi, a relatively unknown Brit , took home a best supporting actress in a drama Emmy for her work on The Good Wife , where she plays a sharp, sexually ambiguous private investigator. (Our own Nina Rastogi has already given props to Panjabi’s blunt charms .) This is an unexpected win , as Panjabi was up against the one-two punch of Mad Men ‘s Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss.

On the comedy side, the fantastic Edie Falco won for Nurse Jackie , where she plays the titular, drug-addled ER nurse. Falco was a critical darling from her days playing Carmela Soprano, and the hosannas haven’t stopped: One critic calls her performance as Jackie “beautifully spare and completely free of all visible signs of vanity.” Jackie is a deeply flawed heroine, and it’s wonderful to see such a character rewarded. Since the Emmys have such a good track record for honoring complicated women, maybe next year my favorite sour girl on TV- Parks and Recreation April (Aubrey Plaza)-will be feted for her deadpan hilariousness. ‘s

Photograph of Archie Panjabi by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.